R.I.P. Richard Lomas

Richard Lomas, one of the longest-serving active members of the Tramway Museum Society, has sadly died. Richard passed away peacefully following a fairly long illness in the early hours of Friday 25th May. He had spent a lengthy spell in hospital suffering from pancreatis, but after going home he was re-admitted a few days ago when he was diagnosed with septicemia and pneumonia, which proved to be too much for him to fight.

In recent times Mr. Lomas has been well-known for his internet blog page, but he has in fact done far more for the TMS than many people will realise. He was activley involved with the National Tramway Museum on and off for five decades, being involved in the early development of the site at Crich in the 1960s. As well as crewing the trams, Richard did three highly succesful stints of the Society’s quarterly magazine, The Journal, and has been involved in tramcar restorations as well. He was well known for his love of Sheffield 264 in particular and he was one of a small team who carried out some considerable restoration work on this tram, with very limited resources long before the present workshop facilities existed. In fact 264 was often worked on outdoors, and Richard has previously spoken of how the car would be driven up to Wakebridge where painting could be carried out in relative peace away from other work. More recently Richard formed a group of people who aimed to compile a detailed history of Sheffield 264‘s life in preservation, reuniting some of the people who helped restore the car at Crich to build up a fuller picture of the extent of work done to the tram. This could well form the basis of other studies involving trams in the national collection, many of which have been at Crich far longer than they ran in their native towns and cities.

Perhaps Richard’s biggest claim to fame occured on 5th July 1964, when he conducted the first ever public trip by an electric tram at Crich. Blackpool & Fleetwood ‘Rack’ 2 did the honours, and fittingly is still part of the operating fleet 48 years later. Recently some discussion had taken place about celebrating the 50th anniversary of this important milestone in TMS history in 2014, and it is extremely sad that Richard will not be present as it was hoped that he could have been a special guest of honour due to the role he played in that historic day.

Although Richard had been a little less active at Crich in later years he had held a conductor’s licence, and his excellent blog website helped to keep distant enthusiasts informed of developments at the Museum, with some saying it was an even better source of news and pictures than the TMS Journal! Happily after being discharged from hospital he did manage to visit Crich a couple of times before he passed away, and was present for the launch of Blackpool Brush Railcoach 630 just a few weeks ago when he rode on its inagurual passenger journey at its new home.

Our sympathies go to Richard Lomas’ family, his many friends, and in particular to his wife Kath. I am very glad to have known this wonderful man who was so passionate about the preservation of Britain’s tramway heritage, and who played a key role in the TMS for much of its existence. Rest in peace Richard.

Richard Lomas conducted Blackpool & Fleetwood 2 on the first public trip at Crich in 1964. Here the tram is seen in the depot yard at Crich, nearly five decade later. (Photo by Tony Waddington)

Two of Richard's favourite trams, Sheffield 264 & 510, posed on the depot fan at Crich during an enthusiast event in 2008. (Photo by Tony Waddington)


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5 Responses to R.I.P. Richard Lomas

  1. Geoffrey Ryder says:

    I was saddened to hear that Richard has passed away. Last year, before his illness, we exchanged e mail correspondence on the subject of the deteriorating financial state of the TMS, as shown by the 2010/11 accounts. He commented on the apathy of the membership to get long overdue changes and improvements made to the Museum administration from the top down, to improve its financial position.
    He was his own man, not to be browbeaten or silenced by ‘the establishment’ at the Museum. May that be part of his epitaph.
    I could not see any reference to his death on the TMS website this evening when I looked. I do hope that something suitable appears before the end of the weekend.

  2. Graham Feakins says:

    Very sad news indeed. I had known Richard and young family from Crich days since the late 1960’s.

    One fine project that Richard started and which he was hoping to continue was his comprehensive, illustrated History of Crich online. Those parts already completed (1959-1978) can be viewed here: http://www.focustransport.org.uk/tramcrichintro.aspx

    Richard fell ill late last summer and so was unable to add further to the story. It would be nice if we could get together to collate images and information to take the story forwards in memory of Richard. Perhaps something that we could try and arrange in due course. I am happy to contact Kath Lomas at an appropriate time. Graham Feakins

  3. Geoff Quarmby says:

    Your excellent and very sensitive obituary of Richard makes no mention of one of his occupations over nearly 20 years at Crich: along with myself, Richard was a member of the overhead line gang under the leadership of Bob Hall, the Overhead Linesman. We were there almost every Wednesday evening and Sunday, in all weathers!!
    He is already sadly missed by his friends, as I can personally testify.

  4. Frank Gradwell says:

    I didn’t know Richard, but, by golly, I admired his tenacity and refusal to be browbeaten by the powers that be, who seem not to have the enthusiasm and heartfelt belief that Richard and his fellow pioneers had in getting Crich established some fifty years ago.

    A great loss to the community, and to the spirit of preservation.

  5. David Holt says:

    Just to fill out the well-deserved tributes to Richard, who I’ve known and respected for almost 50 years, I’d like to mention the intrepid travels, or “study tours” as they might be called, which he undertook with Kath. One of the aspects of his blog which I most enjoyed was his galleries of photographs taken on those travels, some of them showing amazingly decrepit and fascinating tramways. The TMS will be much the poorer for the loss of Richard. Such an irrepressible powerhouse of enthusiasm and knowledge is quite irreplaceable.

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